WillPower vs. Won’tPower — Is it Really Hard to Stop Hurting Animals?

Photo  Jim Robertson

Photo Jim Robertson

by Jack Carone

There is a tendency for some of us who wish to promote veganism—a way of living which excludes the use of animals for food, clothing and other exploitation— to cushion the call to action with a warning/acknowledgement/suggestion that it is a difficult thing to do.

While this is surely the case for some people, for others, including me, it has happened quickly and painlessly when the time was right. To set the stage for interested seekers to expect hardship invites failure or a refusal to even try.

For someone who still really wants to eat animals and their secretions, or still wants to wear a fur coat or a silk shirt, but resists for health or moral reasons understood but not felt, it is certainly hard to do. They have to exert Willpower to resist things they still desire, and this almost inevitably leads to a failure to maintain the “sacrifice”. Someone who gives up meat for “health reasons” very often reverts, occasionally or permanently.

But for someone who has internalized the horror and immorality of subjecting other feeling beings to abuse and slaughter, and who simply refuses to, simply cannot—just won’t— be a part of this any longer, there is no feeling of deprivation, and no enticement which can make them go back to participating in these injustices.

I call this Won’tPower, and in contrast to WillPower, it is effortless to maintain.

Let me tell you what pushed the button in my being and changed my life in an instant.

At the time, I subscribed to the Los Angeles Times newspaper. I sat down one morning and turned to the feature section, and began reading a human-interest story about a man who had become very bitter about life due to some tragic personal experiences. He had become very hard-hearted.

He somehow got a job in a slaughterhouse, killing lambs—baby sheep— as they came by in procession, he took their just-beginning lives with a knife.

One day, a particular lamb passed his station, and he stabbed as before. But before this lamb could fall, mortally wounded, she turned and tenderly licked her own blood from her killer’s hand.

The man broke down, had an instant change of heart, his bitterness melted, he left and became a minister, enriching lives instead of ending them.

I folded the paper, set it down, and have never looked back, except to regret that I had not saved the article!

It is important to note that I had already been thinking about the morality of eating animals, primarily due to my experience of having my first dog as an adult, with all the revelations that living with another species brings, and having met someone’s “pet” turkey, who had expressed as much interest in me as had their Great Dane dog. In other words, the time was right for me, much as the time has to be right to change any ingrained habit, whether it’s smoking, drinking or anything else.

So if you have been wrestling with the ethics of consuming and wearing animals, if you are torn, keep wrestling. Keep thinking and considering. Keep the internal quest alive. When it coincides with the thing—your own personal newspaper article—that pushes your moral button, you may find that it is the easiest and most satisfying thing you have ever done.


Yellowstone Begins Wild Bison Slaughter


Yellowstone National Park shipped 20 of America’s last wild bison to slaughter yesterday morning. Twenty-five bison were captured Friday in the Stephens Creek bison trap, located inside the world’s first national park. After being confined in the trap for five days, 20 of the bison were handed over to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, who are required to slaughter them under a controversial agreement between the tribes and the Park. Five bison remain locked in the trap as of Wednesday afternoon.


Nearly three hundred wild bison were rounded up at Wind Cave National Park, SD, for the annual cull in 2005. Photo credit: National Parks Service

Yellowstone plans to slaughter between 600 and 800 bison this winter, according to park spokesman Al Nash. “We’re going to seek opportunities to capture any animals that move outside the park’s boundaries,” he said. Yellowstone has set a “population target,” or objective, of 3,000 to 3,500 animals.

The current buffalo population numbers approximately 4,400 (1,300 in the Central Interior and 3,100 in the Northern range). The Central Interior subpopulation also migrates north into the Gardiner basin and has not recovered from the last Park-led slaughter in 2008 that killed over half of the Central Interior buffalo. The government’s “population target” makes no distinction for conserving subpopulations in this unique buffalo herd.


Each year, officials execute the Interagency Bison Management Plan that forcibly prevents wild bison’s natural migration with hazing, capture, slaughter, quarantine and hunting. Photo credit: Buffalo Field Campaign

According to Dan Brister, Executive Director of Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC), “This number was politically derived to limit the range of wild buffalo and has no scientific basis. It does not reflect the carrying capacity of the buffalo’s habitat in and around Yellowstone National Park.”

This is the first time Yellowstone has turned bison over to the tribes under the slaughter agreements. According to James Holt, a Nez Perce Tribal Member and a member of BFC’s board, “It is disheartening to see tribes support these activities.”

“Buffalo were made free, and should remain so,” Holt said. “It is painful to watch these tribal entities take such an approach to what should be the strongest advocacy and voice of protection.”

“It is one thing to treat their own fenced herds in this manner, it is quite another to push that philosophy onto the last free-roaming herd in existence,” Holt continued. “Slaughter Agreements are not the answer.”

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 8.46.38 AM

Buffalo fall through ice during a hazing operation in 2006. Photo credit: Buffalo Field Campaign

Brucellosis is the reason used by Yellowstone to justify the slaughter of wild bison. There has never been a documented case of wild bison transmitting the livestock disease to cattle. Other wildlife, such as elk, also carry brucellosis and are known to have transmitted it, yet they are free to migrate, and even commingle with cattle with no consequence.

Year after year, Yellowstone and Montana officials executing the ill-conceived Interagency Bison Management Plan forcibly prevent wild bison’s natural migration with hazing, capture, slaughter, quarantine and hunting. Millions of U.S. tax dollars are wasted annually under activities carried out under the IBMP.

The wild bison of the Yellowstone region are America’s last continuously wild population. Like other migratory wildlife, bison cross Yellowstone’s ecologically insignificant boundaries in order to access the habitat they need for survival. During 2007-2008 more than 1,300 wild bison were captured in Yellowstone National Park and shipped to slaughter.


A dead bison is lifted off the ground near Gardiner, MT, April, 2011. Photo credit: Stephany Seay/ Buffalo Field Campaign

Nearly 7,200 wild bison have been eliminated from America’s last wild population since 1985. Bison once spanned the North American continent, but today, fewer than 4,400 wild bison exist, confined to the man-made boundaries of Yellowstone National Park and consequently are ecologically extinct throughout their native range.

“Humane Slaughter,” “Ethical Hunting” Both Oxymoronic


After forty-some years in the business, fourth generation Montana cattle rancher Howard Lyman finally saw the light. Now, the author of the bestselling books, Mad Cowboy: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won’t Eat Meat and No More Bull: The Mad Cowboy Targets America’s Worst Enemy: Our Diet, spends his days promoting veganism.

For the sake of our health and humaneness, for the planet and for the wolves, adopting a cruelty-free vegan lifestyle is a challenge we all must face together. As Mr. Lyman tells us: ”The question we must ask ourselves as a culture is whether we want to embrace the change that must come, or resist it. Are we so attached to the dietary fallacies with which we were raised, so afraid to counter the arbitrary laws of eating taught to us in childhood by our misinformed parents, that we cannot alter the course they set us on, even if it leads to our own ruin? Does the prospect of standing apart or encountering ridicule scare us even from saving ourselves?”

Read More here: https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/fourth-generation-montana-cattle-rancher-now-promotes-veganism/

Stop Government Plans to Vaccinate & Slaughter Wild Buffalo!

There are several action alerts from Buffalo Field Campaign here:


TAKE ACTION to Stop Government Plans to Vaccinate & Slaughter Wild Buffalo!
  A bull bison roars to be heard among the herd.  Photo by Kim Kaiser.  Click image for larger view.
No buffalo have been killed by hunters since our last Update. Temperatures have dropped into the negatives, snow has fallen, Hebgen Lake is now frozen, and the few wild buffalo that are in Montana are keeping themselves safe from hunters for now. As we promised last week, we have some very important Take Action items for you on two major threats to wild buffalo. Visit the links below to take action and to learn more. BFC has also just produced a new video from our footage of the recent Interagency Bison Management Plan meetings. See and hear for yourself what the agencies are saying. Please do what you can to share our alerts and video widely!
1.  Montana Department of Livestock Plans to Capture, Vaccinate & Slaughter Wild Buffalo

Urge Congress to Stop the DOL’s Plans by Cutting Off Funding for the Interagency Bison Management Plan

Contact Montana Governor Steve Bullock to Stop the Department of Livestock Before they Start!

2.  Yellowstone National Park Enlists Tribes to Slaughter Wild Buffalo Urge the National Park Service to Rescind Buffalo Slaughter Contracts and to Pull Yellowstone Out of the IBMP
Thank you so much for taking the time to raise your voice for America’s last wild buffalo!  Please spread the word to save these herds!
Wild is the Way ~ Roam Free!
* NEW BFC Video:  DOL Reveals Intent to Capture Wild Buffalo in the Hebgen Basin

The last wild buffalo populations are currently estimated at fewer than 4,600 individual animals, living in and around Yellowstone National Park. Wild bison are ecologically extinct throughout their native range in North America.

Total Buffalo Killed: 54
Government Capture:
Buffalo Released from Capture:
Government Slaughter:
Held for Government Experiment:
Died In Government Trap:
Miscarriage in Government Trap:
State Hunt: 3
Treaty Hunts: 51
Unknown Hunts:
Shot by Agents:
Highway Mortality:
Cause of Death Unknown:

Total Killed in Previous Years
2012-2013: 261
2011-2012: 33
2010-2011: 227
2009-2010: 7
2008-2009: 22
2007-2008: 1,631
Total Killed Since 2000: 4,310

*includes lethal government action, trap-related fatalities, quarantine/experiments, hunts, and highway deaths

Anti-Hunt Q and A

The following are my answers to interview questions posed by a journalism student who so was moved after reading my book, Exposing the Big Game: Living Targets of a Dying Sport, that she decided to undertake a project on the psychology of hunting…

1. Have you come into contact with anyone (especially hunters) who has stated that your book changed their view on the game of hunting and the mistreatment of animals?

Answer: Yes, I’ve heard from several non-hunters who have thanked me for exposing the truth about big game hunting. No longer ambivalent about the unnecessary cruelty of sport hunting, they are now active anti-hunters.

But I have yet to meet a hunter introspective enough to allow anything to change their inbred, imbedded views on killing wildlife.

2. Have you received any ‘backlash’ since publishing this book?

Answer: For what, for urging hunters and trappers to be more compassionate to our fellow beings? No, and they haven’t received any backlash from me for tormenting and killing my friends the animals (aside from my book and blog).

Deep down hunters and trappers know what they are doing is wrong; they just hope we’ll continue to let them get away with it.

3. Are you friends with anyone who avidly hunts? Do any of your family members hunt?

Answer: Unfortunately.

4. In the beginning of the book, it states that you have always been a man of compassion towards animals. Why do you think that spreading the word of being kind to animals is important?

Answer: I’m going to answer that question with another question, a couple of other questions, actually: Why did the emancipators think freeing the slaves was important? My grandmother and great aunts were suffragettes, why did they fight for women’s right to vote? Why did people push to ban kiddie porn or crush videos? Why? Because speaking out for innocent victims of exploitation is the right thing to do.

5. What do you say to those who hunt for food and not sport? Many hunters believe that it is more humane to hunt for food than it is to buy meat from a slaughter house.

Answer: First of all, most people who claim to hunt for food not sport are living far above the poverty level. They are not starving and they don’t need to kill animals to survive. They do it because they want to—it’s “fun.” In many cases they spend far more on the hunt than it would cost them to get their food from the markets where they buy their beer, tobacco and Twinkies. They can boast all they want about “using the meat”—hell, even wolf or cougar hunters will claim that they plan to eat what they kill—but they’re just trying to make their trophy hunt seem palatable to the unwary public.

And the claim that hunting is more humane than what cows go through is exaggerated at best. While there’s absolutely no denying that what cows at the slaughterhouse are forced to endure is appallingly cruel, hunters conveniently forget that the animals they stalk are stressed out from the time they hear the first gunshots fired by someone sighting in their rifles for hunting season.

The myth of that “good clean shot” is a grim fairytale in most every case. Hunters expect to have to track down and finish off an animal they’ve shot or impaled with an arrow. In reality, “game” animals probably suffer longer than those at the slaughterhouse (though this is in no way meant to condone factory farming).

When it comes right down to it, hunters don’t give a shit about being humane, or they’d quit eating meat and join the millions of people who are living proof that human beings can live longer, healthier lives if they swear off flesh foods and get their nutrients from the plant kingdom.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Love the Country, Hate the People

“Love the country, hate the people.” I heard that thought first put into words by Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson and I’ve never forgotten it—no doubt because I’ve so often shared that sentiment myself.

Captain Watson was referring to coastal New Brunswick, Canada (where he grew up) and the type of people who club seals to death without a second thought. I have had the same kind of reaction many times over the years I’ve spent living in rural America, especially this time of year when camo-clad, orange-vested A-holes troll up and down the roads hoping some hapless deer or elk will step out of the lush, verdant forest and into their kill zone.

I had another kind of love-the-country, hate-the-people moment just yesterday during a walk with my wife and our dog on a dike that doubles as a narrow road bordering a river when a small, rattletrap freight truck pulled out of the driveway at a neighbor’s property. Unaware of the insidious, horrific evil the occupants of the vehicle had just been involved in, I raised my hand in friendly greeting (hoping they might stop so I could tell them their rig was leaking oil profusely).

Never again will I give someone driving by the benefit of the doubt. They waved back exaggeratedly and wore overstated smirks that bordered on malevolent. As it turns out, I’m glad they kept on going. When they passed by we noticed the cartoon drawings of a happy cow and pig and the name of their business, “Patriot Packing,” that were hand-painted on the back of the truck.

We knew instantly what kind of vehicle it was—a mobile slaughter service. Travelling abattoirs are an increasingly popular method among ruralites for killing the cows they supposedly took great care in raising. My wife then remembered she had heard cows bellowing (like they do when their young are taken away) and the sound of a power saw, but hadn’t put two and two together.

Touted as a more humane alternative to factory farming and conventional slaughterhouses, the down-home practice of “growing” your own cows is deceitful and in its own way horrendously cruel—especially when herd mates are forced to bear witness to such butchery right in front of them in their own pasture.

Though it’s an accepted part of country living for people to embrace or personally partake in the butchering of animals, it can hardly be called a “way of life;” it’s more a way of death—a culture based on killing.

Holocaust survivor and founder of Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), Alex Hershaft, made this recent fitting statement:

“I see a striking parallel between the deceptive bucolic images of pigs cavorting in green meadows on Farmer John’s murals and the cynical inscription ‘Work makes you free’ over the gate to Auschwitz.

“And, I do see a striking parallel in the mindsets of both sets of oppressors: their self-image as upstanding members of their communities, their abject objectification of their victims, their callous use of cattle cars for transport, their continuous refinement of killing line technology, their preoccupation with record keeping and cost-effectiveness, their eagerness to hide and masquerade their horrendous deeds.”

Author Farley Mowat, another selfless Canadian animal advocate in league with Captain Paul Watson, ultimately came around to the “love the country, hate the people” sentiment in A Whale for the Killing. The 1972 book is an autobiographical account of Mowat’s moving to Newfoundland because of his love for the land and the sea, only to find himself at odds with herring fishermen who made sport of shooting at an 80-ton fin whale trapped in a lagoon by the tide. Although he had started off thinking folks around there were a quaint and pleasant lot, he grew increasingly bitter over the attitudes of so many of the locals who, in turn, resented him for “interfering” by trying to save the stranded leviathan.

Mowat writes, “My journal notes reflect my sense of bewilderment and loss. ‘…they’re essentially good people. I know that, but what sickens me is their simple failure to resist the impulse of savagery…they seem to be just as capable of being utterly loathsome as the bastards from the cities with their high-powered rifles and telescopic sights and their mindless compulsion to slaughter everything alive, from squirrels to elephants…I admired them so much because I saw them as a natural people, living in at least some degree of harmony with the natural world. Now they seem nauseatingly anxious to renounce all that and throw themselves into the stinking quagmire of our society which has perverted everything natural within itself, and is now busy destroying everything natural outside itself. How can they be so bloody stupid? How could I have been so bloody stupid?’”

Farley Mowat ends the chapter with another line I can well relate to: “I had withdrawn my compassion from them…now I bestowed it all upon the whale.”